Tag Archives: prayer

Discovering London, An Answered Prayer

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Everyone knows that when we want something so bad, the waiting part is the hardest. We wait for a lot of things in this life; a breakthrough in career, a specific amount in our bank accounts, that house and lot we’ve been eyeing out, the right person we’re going to marry and even our dreams to be a reality.

This was the one dream that I was willing to wait for. I was going to do it step by step. I was going to prepare myself. Little did I know that God was already working backstage. And this is the very reason why this journey was so much special.

How the Dream Started

My journey in dreaming and waiting started in 2013. Year after year, I committed this specific prayer to God and listed it down to my faith goals. The desire was too strong that there were days when I found myself crying on bended knees asking God that if He had no plans of granting my prayer, He might as well remove the desire and give me a new one – one that’s aligned with His. He saw how my heart broke and rejoiced in the news of friends being given the opportunity to live my dream. He knew about how scared and happy I was to have received the news, three years later – just the thought of stepping foot on the country and at the same time, having the possibility of a denied visa was both overwhelming and heartbreaking.

My Plan

I left the first company I worked for in 2014 with uncertainties in the new path I was going to take. I’ve always told everyone that leaving one of the best companies in the world and changing industries from IT retail to financials were for the bigger goals in my life. I had it all planned out; I was going to enter the financial industry and add some skills in my resume to qualify me for work in Singapore, thinking it would be so much easier if I enter UK from there. After, I was going to try out applying for the UK visa or doing whatever way I could, to fly to London. I had no specific end date, I just knew I’ll be in London sooner or later. I wasn’t the hurrying type, but I got so frustrated that I almost gave up. Well, that was MY plan.

The Shift

Just more than a year in the new company and in the first project I was assigned to, the team was suddenly dissolved. We found ourselves floating – exploring opportunities outside the company. I attended three interviews and promised three more to other companies. My last option was to go back to my hometown and rest for awhile and maybe keep my options open or try to chase other things I am passionate about.

I had sleepless nights and continued to pray to the Lord. And though I was a little depressed and scared about the future, I had this feeling of excitement – as if something big was coming, I didn’t know what or when, but there was an assurance that everything will work out fine.

God’s Plan

There are a lot of people who never fully trusted God nor His capacity to do wonders, it’s as if we always need to push and do our best to achieve something. But this one, I tell you, is something I never had to work hard for. Looking back, everything had fallen exactly into place. Project got dissolved. I was given a slot to the newly-acquired project of the company even though my manager had told me there wasn’t any slot left, that actually led me to prepare myself to pursue my other passions. The unfortunate event of almost losing a job, with the project getting dissolved turned out to be a beautiful blessing in disguise because it redirected me to new doors that skyrocketed me straight to my dream.

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When I was asked if I wanted to join the team to fly to United Kingdom for training, I got so excited, like a kid finally getting what she wished for birthdays, Christmas, and all the good days. Then fear set in – this was too good to be true. This was too easy. What if my visa application got denied? What if I got into an accident and couldn’t fly to UK? What and ifs. It clouded my mind for so many days but God always reminded me that He’s got this and that I shouldn’t limit His infinity to my finite mind, that nothing is too hard for Him!

“God, You’ve opened the doors when I was willing to wait. You’re handing out my dream when I was willing to work hard for it. You initiated this opportunity when I was willing to look for it. This isn’t me now, this is You. And I will trust in You. I will trust in Your promise that You will withhold nothing amazing from your children. May all the glory and honor be Yours, and Yours alone. And even if this doesn’t turn out good, I will still trust in Your Will because it’s always good and perfect,” this was the last entry I wrote before my visa got approved.

The Answered Prayer
 
While I was looking out the window just before our touchdown, my tears swelled as I saw the London Eye and the Shards. I couldn’t believe that I was finally seeing it in the flesh. My insides turned in a good way. My heart skipped beats and I couldn’t help but shed a few tears while taking photos from the window seat. I heard myself whispered a hundred times, “thank you Lord”.

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As I exited from the plane, the cool air struck my face and I stopped at the door and gave London my warmest smile. London air all over me! London air! Yes, I was that happy that even the thought of me gasping the London air made me so excited and teary.

I remembered a friend of mine told me a story about a friend of hers that went to London through a scholarship that was granted to her because of the connections she worked for by attending different UK seminars. Why didn’t I go and find opportunities myself?

Truth is, I could’ve done that if I wanted to. I was actually looking through opportunities and saving for some. But this wasn’t just a goal, this was a prayer and I wanted God to personally show me that He could answer prayers for me as big as this one. This wasn’t just a dream, this was a fusion of worldly and spiritual goals. I was giving it up to God and letting Him do what He does and thinks best.

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Even when I’m back in Manila, I still couldn’t process everything that has happened for the last few months. It was as if everything in my life built up to prepare me to receive this and I couldn’t be anymore grateful.

Just before I went home from United Kingdom, my best friend and I were talking about dreams being answered through prayers. She spoke about the term, “from glory to glory”, what it means and what we should be doing to understand what the phrase means. We should always have an open palm, always ready to accept blessings and have it replaced or removed. We shouldn’t clench our fists when God gives us something, because when He decides to remove it, we will hurt and we will grow bitter towards God. We should trust that our God knows what’s best for us and He wouldn’t give us anything less than what we have now.

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“Glory to glory” – I feel like I can dream bigger now, like I have this hope and faith that if God could give my biggest dream in a snap, what else can He not give? 

God wrapped this year with a ribbon. He was true to His Words, “Call to me and I will answer you, and show you great and unsearchable things you do not know”, Jeremiah 33:3 and indeed, He showed me great and mighty things which I wouldn’t know if I didn’t offer this one to Him. 

To God be all the glory!

To the author of this story, thank you for sharing this dream turned into reality story! Indeed, nothing is impossible with the Lord! More stories of her at her blog site – Half of My Heart .

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The Magnet Story

Last 2014, I asked my friend, Xenia to share her God-written love story. It took me two years to be able to publish it here in the blog site, for some reason I don’t know. 🙂

But, it’s never too late to share a great story authored by God. Hope you enjoy a glimpse of Xenia’s journey.

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Written February 2014

Rockwell and I have only been married since August 24th of last year. We are still enjoying the honeymoon stage.

I met Rockwell during the March for Jesus 2000 worship event at Bacolod City. At that time, he was a complete stranger to me. I saw him holding a banner and dancing to the song “Mercy is falling like sweet spring rain”. It was like magnet. My heart fell in love with how his soul loved Jesus while dancing in the rain in front of over a hundred people proclaiming the worth of Jesus. At that moment, I couldn’t help but utter praise and prayer. My prayer was that I wanted to worship the Lord like he did.

Little did I know, I was prophesying him to be my future husband (haha). In college, he was president of the student government in Riverside and I was his secretary. But I never mentioned this fact to him—about that worship event, and the prayer and the hoping. I had a long term relationship during that time and even after college. The prayer that was spoken for him to be for me was forgotten because of the circumstances that happened that I thought I could not control. I took the wrong path when I came here to the States. I got influenced with the worldly lifestyle. God became the last of my priorities. Having a good career and the praises of people were the ones that mattered to me the most.

As I chose to live my life freely, I continued to sin and to forget God. I was making a black hole in the depth of my soul that none of the material, physical or emotional factor can satisfy. The more that I drew farther from the Lord, the more that my life became very meaningless and hopeless. I reached to the point of giving up. I realized that it was not the life that God intended me to have. The life that He promised me was a life that is full of hope and a future. God reminded me that all good gifts come from Him because He is my Dad. I did not deserve the second hand things that I chose to settle with. As He promised, I deserved the fullness of life. When I asked God to take my calloused heart and make it new, it was like He breathed new life to my desert soul and dry bones.

After 14 years, God finally honored my prayer during that rainy event, having a heart that was so raw and open. Rockwell came back into the picture after I sought God’s purpose for my life. I did not beautifully wait for him. But God still turned my wasted life to a beautiful story when He rescued me and I was able to find fullness and grace again in Him. Isn’t God amazing?  He remembered every detail! He gave me the gift of a husband that I did not deserve.

Indeed, a life of worship and prayer is the key. God alone is good and faithful to His promises! He is full of mercy, grace and love for all of us. Our life should never be focused on the gifts that He gives us but our life should be all about who He is and His worth. How could a God still love us and still want us despite the things that we have done and will do which are not pleasing to Him? That’s our God!

Many are the plans in a man’s heart but only the will of God prevails.- Proverbs 19:21

It is not someone or our husband or wife that will complete us. The fullness of life can only be found in Jesus. I am blessed to have a husband whom I can see Jesus in him. It’s an opportunity for me to be able to love him with grace and mercy just like Jesus loves me. To be wired to Jesus, the Only Source of unconditional love, is how we are able to truly love someone unconditionally.  I believe that we can never give what we do not have. To be an overflow of love, we need God’s love to overflow in our life.

xenia & rockwell

Xenia & Rockwell Bennett

Attend, Serve, Hear – Then What?

Just this Sunday, I went home to Bacolod to spend time with my family before I leave the country.  It was very timely also as we celebrated my mom’s 60th birthday. Days before that, she requested us if we can have a Bible study at home when I arrive. I was okay with it as I took it as an opportunity also.

Few days before I went home, I had the privilege to volunteer and help for the “Unshakable” Conference which was held in Christ’s Commission Fellowship. The speakers were Krish Dhanam, Nabeel Qureshi and Ravi Zacharias. There were also other guests who came who are part of the RZIM (Ravi Zacharias International Ministries).

Being part of the speakers’ care team, I had the chance to pick up some of the guests from RZIM at the airport and had conversations with them, knowing a bit about them – what they do, where they’re from, etc.  I must say, it was an interesting and meaningful experience. I could see how God uses ordinary people to do His work.

On the event day, while still helping out in the care team, I was blessed that I could still attend and hear the messages of all speakers. And I’m really glad that I did. I believed God wanted me to have the right perspective and heart as I respond to what He would require from me.

What do I mean by that?

My mom joined a religious group which became known because of a t.v. program wherein their leader answers all questions of the viewers by quoting different verses in the Bible. That Bible study I mentioned was conducted by a worker from that group . I agreed with it because I wanted to know first-hand what they believe in and what they teach.  It was a tempting opportunity to debate and argue but just like what I learned from the conference, we must do everything in LOVE.

During the Bible study, I made some notes on the verses they share and the words they speak. I also asked questions just to probe and get more understanding on what they believe in. While listening, my heart really broke and is still breaking. I am saddened of what I heard. I realized how much they truly need to experience the love and grace of God.

I remembered the very words of Dr. Ravi, “If you want to defend your faith, you have to work hard.” For me to be able to share to my mom the truth of God’s Word, I have to do my own homework as well. I have to be more diligent in studying God’s Word, be more prayerful and to just continue showing love.

Paul’s instruction is also an encouragement knowing that only God can truly change the hearts of people.

Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth. Then they will come to their senses and escape from the devil’s trap. For they have been held captive by him to do whatever he wants. (2 Timothy 2:23-26)

After that Bible study, my eyes were more widely opened on the so-called “urgency”. The devil is working double time in deceiving a lot of people to confuse them by twisting the truth. I realize I just can’t sit and stay sad for them. I must also put a lot of effort to double time in prayer and in sharing God’s love and His Word to others.

This is when the “Then What?” comes in. God does not want us to remain the same after attending series of events or conferences about Him. It’s not just an additional experience or another check in our bucket list. I was suppose to go home on the 17th of May but because the flight was more expensive than the 18th, I took the next day flight. I would have missed the conference but God knew I needed to hear His message.  I know I wasn’t just there to merely hear and feel good and be blessed. God wanted me to hear and apply what I learned.

At the last part of Dr. Ravi’s message, he asked to come forward those who wanted to make a commitment in responding to God’s cause. I just stayed in my place and when Ptr. Peter started praying, I cried. God reminded me that everything that will happen in my future will never be about me. I cried because I got scared that I might fail God. What if I won’t be able to do what He will ask me to do?

I can only pray that God will make me “usable”. Just like what one of the speakers said, that instead of praying that God would use us, pray that God would make us usable. I know I can never accomplish anything until I let God make me the person that He could use for His work.

These are my take home points during the conference. These points reminded me that we don’t live just for ourselves, we live for God and His cause.

– Steer away from things that don’t matter.

– Keep the main thing the main thing.

– You are needed where God puts you.

– Bring into the light your shameful past and see how God will use it.

– A calling is a convergence of your capabilities, convictions, affirmations and opportunities.

– Be careful in choosing your role models.

– If you are a prayerful Christian, your faith will carry you. If not, you will have to carry your faith.

– As you know the truth, take time to know also the worldview on things.

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Speakers’ Care Team

ravi

“If you love me, keep my commands.” – Jesus (John 14:15)

 

Only Best Thing in Life

 

Have you reached that point in your life that you just want to be at the feet of Jesus, see His face and gaze upon Him? Because the words you want to speak to Him are never enough? The pour out of your emotions for Him is just endless? As you try to fathom and comprehend His love for you, you just can’t?

Falling in love with Jesus is the best thing that could happen to any human being. It’s not something we start on our own. It’s a response to what God has started for us. It’s a response to a perfect, sacrificial and amazing love.

We are not worthy to be loved by Jesus, much more to love Him back. To be able to love Jesus is a grace from God. Because loving Jesus means we are ready to surrender our selfish, old ways and follow Him.

However, God has faith in us. He believes that we can overcome sin through Jesus Christ. Remember when Peter denied Jesus three times?

And He (Jesus) said, “I say to you, Peter, the rooster will not crow today until you have denied three times that you know Me.” (Luke 22:34)

Jesus had so much faith in Peter. Even before Peter committed that act, Jesus knew that Peter will still turn back to God.

 “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”  (Luke 22:31-32)

And Peter did when he saw with his very own eyes that Jesus who died, had resurrected and is alive. And remember that even Satan has to ask permission from God to sift Peter. When temptations or trials are allowed in our life, it means that God believes that we can overcome those through Jesus.

Just like Peter, only a risen Lord can turn your life to God and never go back to the old life. Only when Jesus becomes real in your life and not just a fact that you know, that you will reach that point in your life that you just want to be at His feet because your life is an overflowing vessel of His love and goodness that you can’t contain.

I pray that you will experience the saving power of God in your life by humbly accepting Jesus Christ in your life that you will have the strength to turn away from your sinful ways.

 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

It’s Not Complicated

 

In my Bible reading, I’m now in the chapters of the Book of Exodus when God gave instruction to Moses in building the tabernacle, altar, etc. You know all the details and measurements. Every time I read these chapters, I’m always reminded of how God cares even to the smallest details. He was very specific of the color, size and length and materials to be used. The small details mattered to Him. Another thing I’m also reminded of, God is not complicated. When He gave the instruction to Moses, it was direct and complete, no guessing games or whatsoever.

As I reflect of who God is also in my life, He is also the same. He cares for the smallest details in my life. I remembered when I was trying to catch the last bus trip and I was still in the train. With my estimate, I know I will miss the bus but I asked for a little miracle from God. I made it to the last trip. I realized God cared for my transportation going home. There have been a lot of instances in my life that I never thought would matter to God, but every time I whisper a prayer, He would give me those little miracles which made me love God more. Indeed, He is also into the small details of our life.

If there’s such thing as “It’s Complicated” status in Facebook, with God, nothing is complicated. How He gave instruction to Moses, everything was laid out. Moses did not need to figure out what God was trying to say to Him. God gave all the details for Moses to execute. In my journey with God, He has shown the same. His yes is a clear yes and no a clear no. We sometimes think that God’s plan for us is something that we need to figure out or it’s a mystery. As I learn to totally trust Him, I realized that there is nothing to figure out. All we really need to do is to trust and obey. God gives answers in the proper time. And when He answers, it is always clear.

Last week, I became impatient with God. He asked me to resign last year and I thought that He would let me work full time in my church. The first position I applied, I was not selected. Another position was offered to me, I got excited and I thought this was what God really planned for me. Then, I was told last week that the start date was uncertain due to change of priorities.  I felt sad and cried. I was being a brat with God asking what He really wanted me to do. God was giving me a clear “No”. Twice. Very clear, right? And so, I conceded.

But God does not give us a “No” answer for no reason at all. Last Saturday, I received the email that I have been waiting for a long time. It was for my PR application in Canada, the immigration is requesting for my passport so that they could give me my visa. This was something I prayed to God and deeply asked Him not to give me a “No”.  And indeed, He did not! My application got approved! 🙂 And now, everything is making sense!

His No to me is a Yes to what is best for me and for His work for the church. God is not complicated. We are the ones making it complicated because of our impatience and lack of faith.

“God is not a God of disorder but of peace.” 1 Corinthians 14:33

[Giving it All] Day 2: Your Priorities

Reading: Matthew 26:8-12

When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.”

Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial.

Reflection:

What’s wrong with the disciples? Was it wrong to give the money to the poor to help them? The problem here is that they missed the point of why the woman poured out the expensive perfume on Jesus’ head (Matt 26: 6-7).

We are like the disciples at times. We sometimes miss the point of why God allows things to happen in our lives. We sometimes fail to see things in God’s perspective. We tend to get angry with God without even seeking Him.

What the disciples saw as a waste, Jesus described it as “beautiful”.  The woman acknowledged who Jesus was and without having second thoughts offered her perfume to Him. She knew that  Jesus was very much worthy of the expensive perfume.

woman perfumeSource

Is Jesus worthy of your precious time? Is He worthy of your resources and services? Putting God first in your life is never a waste. In fact, it is the most worthy thing you can do in your life. Your life will never be the same once you have set your priorities right, with God being the first.

Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind”  This is the great and  foremost commandment. The second is like it, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-39)

How do we put God first?

  • Making time for God. Have a quality time with God by reading the Bible and prayer.  When Jesus was on earth, He always wakes up early in the morning and even avoids the crowd when He needs to spend time with the Heavenly Father.  ( In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there. Mark 1:35)
  • Acknowledging God and His Word as your authority in life. The values and principle we live by should always be aligned with what is in the Bible. In our day to day, we will always face trials and temptations that is why it is important that we know what is right in God’s eyes through the Bible.  The standard of this world especially today is very immoral. We need to have a clear stand of what standards do we follow – the world’s or God’s. (And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2)
  • Choosing God in all circumstances. Compromise is very dangerous in our spiritual walk. When we start giving in little by little to the wrong things, we will eventually find ourselves justifying the wrong and making it look right. God does not allow temptations that we can’t handle. Temptation is not a sin but when we stop choosing God and gave in, then that’s when it becomes an act of rebellion against God – aka sin. But God does not let us overcome temptation on our own. He will always sustain us. ( No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13)

With God being the first on your priority list, loving our neighbors is the second most important. Who are these?

  1. Family – next to God should be our families. In the 10 commandments (Exodus 20), the first 4 talks about our relationship with God. The 5th commandment talks about family – “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you.”
  2. Ministry, Work – our ministry in church and/or work should never take priority before our family. When we fix our weekly schedule, there should always be an allotted quality time with family. Work takes us most of the hours in our week that’s why other activities should be properly planned. Ministry is also important as this is our service to God and other people. But if this takes up more time than spending alone time with God and quality time with our family, then, we need to drop it. God first, Family second.

If you want God to help you set your priorities right, you can say this prayer.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father,

Thank you dear God for reminding me today of how important it is to put You first in everything that I do. Thank you for Your Son, Jesus who taught us how to live a life that honors You.  Lord, help me to make my priorities right. Give me strength and teach me discipline that I will be able to spend more time with you in my day to day. Guide me also that I may be able to spend more quality time with my family. Teach me to properly plan my week so that the other things that I need to do will not take the time I should be spending with You. This I pray in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;in all your ways submit to him,  and he will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5-7

Song:

Forever by Hillsong

[Persevering] Day 2: God Hears You

Reading: Psalm 40:4-5

How blessed is the man who has made the Lord his trust,
And has not turned to the proud, nor to those who lapse into falsehood.
Many, O Lord my God, are the wonders which You have done,
And Your thoughts toward us;
There is none to compare with You.
If I would declare and speak of them,
They would be too numerous to count.

Reflection:

Knowing God

  • God blesses the man who trusts in Him and who does not turn to the proud and those who lapse into falsehood
  • Many are God’s wonderful works and thoughts toward us, too numerous to count
  • God is incomparable

When you have trials in life, to whom do you first turn to?

Before I had a deep relationship with God, I always turn to my friends first whenever I have problems. I don’t even go to my family. And when I remember God, that’s only when I pray. However, this has changed when I realized that God is the only one who could sustain me in the midst of my problems.

Now, I always turn to God first and just pour out unto Him all my concerns. When we start trusting God, knowing that He is in control of everything, we will have peace, stillness and joy that we can’t explain. These are the blessings we can receive from God even if we are flooded with problems.

Then, I turn to the people whom God uses to help me in my problems. When we turn to people, let’s make sure that they will impart to us wisdom that comes from the Lord and not from the standard of the world (And has not turned to the proud, nor to those who lapse into falsehood.) It’s important that we pray to God to give us people who could give us godly counsel. I realized how blessed I am to be a part of a community of believers because there are people who will not just give me counsel but will also pray for me.

Have you been trusting God not just with your problems but with your whole life? Only God can understand the very depth of your heart. He will be pleased that you run to Him first. And if you feel like you don’t have anyone to turn to, always remember that God is just waiting for you. He hears you. And He will speak to you through the Bible. In the Bible, you will see how God has heard the cry of a lot of people and how He has helped them during difficult times. He will also do the same for you as long as you trust Him.

If you haven’t called to God, maybe, it’s time you call upon Him. Let this prayer guide you.

Prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you for always thinking about me even if I fail to remember you.  Today, I commit that I will always run to you first – in my victories and trials. Thank you for the promise of blessings for those who trust in you. Teach me Lord to trust you always that I may walk not in the ways of this world but in Your ways.  This I pray in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Song:

Hope this song will remind you of who God is.